Saturday, July 31, 2010

Putting Up Harvest

You know when you come back from the garden with a basket looking like this you have a full day of work ahead of you. For canned goods so far this season I have put up zucchini relish, zucchini pickles, kosher dill pickles, pickled garlic, rhubarb, strawberry jam, and chicken broth.
With the tomatoes I have made spaghetti sauce and a cream of tomato soup which has already been consumed and or I frozen. I LOVE to can but if I can freeze it that is the usually the route I take out of convenience. For any of you new to canning my canning bible is THE BLUE BOOK OF PRESERVING. It can be purchased on Amazon for less then $10. With our gardens I could literally put food up all day everyday but I do not want to spend my summer in the kitchen. I put up what I can and the rest is consumed fresh or given away to friends & family. Today is a work day catching up around the homestead. I will be putting up some green beans and we will start planting our fall crops in addition to moving the cows. The next 2 days we will play! That is kind of how we roll here. Work a couple... play a couple. It is all about finding that balance! We have had a wonderful summer and I have literally taken thousands of pictures in hopes that some day I will have more computer time to sit down and post about a few of our Maine adventures. Stay tuned ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fresh Air Child

Last night we picked up our fresh air child from the airport. JJ is from Brooklyn, NY. She will be will be staying with us for a week. Initially she was to arrive by bus but after a mix up she was not able to board the bus. Leaving both parties distraught I booked a flight for her and with her parents blessings she flew for the first time. She is everything we hoped for and more. Polite, considerate, well adjusted, and a whole lot of fun!
Well worth the drama we went through to get her here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Garden of Eatin'

Purple potatoes in bloom
These pictures were uploaded 7/7 so this is a peak at the hoop house from about 2 weeks ago. Currently we are eating cucumbers, yellow squash, green peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini from this garden.

Cukes Gone Wild! Not the ideal situation, they are taking over the hoop house. Next year Maine Man plans trim them to a single stem and trellis them as he did with the tomatoes.

Sweet potatoes (part of the Ivy family)

I keep saying I am going to try fried green tomatoes but I have yet to. Does anyone like eating fried green tomatoes or ever try making green tomato salsa?

I am picking a handful of ripe tomatoes daily. The plan is to make some spaghetti sauce real soon!

The side garden by the chicken pen. Today was the first bean picking/eating of the season.

The pumpkin & squash garden. Here are some pics of the gardens 1 month ago. The changes are impressive.

Corn, potatoes, herbs & Muscovies

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garlic Harvest

Maine Man & the kids pulled the garlic last week.
Before anyone asks I have no idea what variety it is....organization is not my best quality ;)
What I do know is that it is a mix of soft & hard neck varieties.
It has been drying in the barn. I have given some away and I cook with it frequently.
Hard neck garlics do not have a long shelf life so my plan is to try and freeze a bit, make some pesto, and I may even attempt to pickle some. Flower Girl LOVES pickled garlic. Has anyone ever pickled garlic before? Any suggestions for alternate storage?
Cute little story about pickled garlic....last Christmas I bought some pickled garlic for FG. That night she ate a handful. The next day I noticed she had peculiar breath. It seemed to persist for days. I felt it was endocrine in nature. Ha, the nurse in me! I was convinced she was in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) or something and even went as far as checking her blood sugar with a glucometer I had. It was normal of course. That afternoon while talking to my BF about the situation, she chuckled and reminded me of all the garlic she'd consumed in the days prior to.
LOL, sometimes knowing more is not always better.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Time

Within minutes Flower Girl went from being terrified

to petrified

To having the TIME of her Life!

Country Boy enjoyed himself the ENTIRE ride!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You might be a farm chick if.......

You might be a farm chick have a cow named Sir Loin that loves to bury his face in the sand pile.

You might be a farm chick if.......... when someone honks the horn at 6 am you know for sure it is not just to say hello instead you surge with adrenalin and run out knowing that one of your animals must be in the road.

You might be a farm chick if..........your daughter asks your boy if the electric fence is on he proceeds to tell her it is off. Then you must console child for 40 minutes thereafter. (then kick some serious butt ;))

You might be a farm chick have a chicken plucker that is out on borrow more than in your possession.

You might be a farm chick if..........friends & family say coming to your house is like going on a field trip, always a different adventure.

You might be a farm chick if..........your kids play with matches & knives on a regular basis and you are ok with it.

You might be a farm chick use facebook as a way of selling livestock.

You might be a farm chick if...........all your visitors greet you with an arm full of egg cartons.

You might be a farm chick if...........your friends are all out partying it up and you are home slaving over a hot pressure canner late into the night drinking diet pepsi in hopes to get a second wind so you can finish putting food up by sunrise.

(all real scenarios here on the farm)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Newest Additions

HELP....... Need some names folks! (1 male, 1 female)
If you have been a long time reader you know we've had some naughty pigs named Obama & McCain who are looooong gone.
We also had pigs called Ham & Pumpkin. Ham delivered the first piggies here on the farm last summer. (hot looking picture of Maine Man on that link too)
We raised 2 of her piglets, one for our family and one for a friend. They were called Barbie & Q. Barbie went to market a while back but Q just went last week with a hanging weight of 340 lbs. As it has been SUPER warm here in Maine as of lately MM did not want to attempt processing the meat. He has processed the last few pigs and even posted about it here. Instead we gave half to a friend and they paid the processing fees, we both made out!
That pig processing post of MM's is the 2nd most visited post on this blog. You know what that #1 most visited post on this blog? MM's "how to build a chicken plucker ".
That man writes 2 posts in 3 years and I post weekly. Something is wrong with this picture ;)
Upcoming posts (of his) will too be popular if he ever gets a chance to make a wind turbine which he has talked of and/or build a hot water solar tank. If anyone can do it, he CAN!
K, folks I'm counting on you here. My friend that owns one of these piggies wants to name them H1 & N1 but I just can't do it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Garlic Scape Pesto took me a year or two to figure out what a garlic scape was.
Not sure why it was so trivial.
Someone on facebook mentioned garlic scape pesto. I was interested so I googled it. Found a recipe here.
Then I made it in no time. SIMPLE & DELICIOUS!
*Pick it
*Wash it
*Chop it
*Blend it
Add olive oil & Parmesan cheese
*Eat it
*Freeze it

1/2 lb garlic scapes
1 cup olive oil
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese


Good in scrambled eggs, omelettes, quiche, over pasta, home fries, on toast, pizza......
For long term storage I froze in ice cube trays then placed cubes in a ziploc.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fruits of our Labor

Well, just didn't sound right. What I like most about this time of year is all the availability of produce. Three times a day we benefit from the fruits of our labor! Going to an event? Need to put a quick dish together. Nothing like going out foraging in the hoop house & gardens to make a quick, colorful, nutritious delightful addition for a BBQ.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not so Ugly Duckings

Align Center

We have 13 of these sweet little things running about the farm.

They were hatched out the way nature intended, by their Mommas. No help from Country Boy's incubator. The way I most prefer but hatching out eggs with the incubator has been a great learning experience. CB has made some money with it as well. It has been running continuously since April. We just hatched out our 4th batch of rhode island red chicks this past weekend.

Unlike chickens the ducks have yet to cause any destruction to the gardens this season hence why they are still running free and the laying hens are behind fencing. They actually seem to be helping with the bug population. This is the first year ever we have not had problems with insects destroying our crops. Maine Man had to dust a few plants with diamatacious earth once but that was it.
Muscovies are by far are one the EASIEST farm animals. They require very little care, they are quiet & clean. They gather in the barn at night and free range during the day. They forage much of food they eat.

Have I ever mentioned that I love baking with duck eggs?